By Marisa Iati
NJ Advance Media
Parents of two girls who are barred from going back to their Catholic grammar school created a pervasive culture of anxiety in the tight-knit school community, according to testimony from school officials.
Scott Phillips and Theresa Mullen, whose young daughters’ applications were rejected by St. Theresa School in Kenilworth, repeatedly verbally harassed administrators and made some fear for their safety, the administrators said Wednesday in state Superior Court in Essex County.
The Archdiocese of Newark, which oversees the school, told the parents in the spring that their daughters Sydney Phillips and Kaitlyn Phillips could not return because the parents threatened the school’s ability to carry out its Catholic mission. The parents successfully sued the archdiocese last winter, forcing the school to allow Sydney to play on the boys’ basketball team when there was no girls’ team.
Now, the parents seek a court order mandating that St. Theresa let the girls go back to classes there this fall. Trial testimony stretched about 10 hours Wednesday after Judge Donald A. Kessler said he was determined to resolve the case within the next few days, no matter how late they must stay each time.